by Tish Brewer
A couple of years ago I taught a workshop on tacketed bindings that included templates for a lot of different lacing patterns. After teaching the pattern for an 8-pointed star, I thought it would be a nice idea to make a template with the lacing steps color coded- that way each step could be clearly seen without having to refer to more than one instructional diagram. Below are photos of that completed template, along with the original written instructions used for that workshop. Circle 1 refers to the inner circle of holes, circle 2 the next concentric circle outward, and so on. To be clear, you would usually be doing this with all the same color lacing- the differing colors are just my way of showing the steps.
Star/circle 1 (seen below in orange): Start in the back middle hole, leaving at least a ½” inch tail in the back as you move to the front. (Front) Enter any hole in the inner circle from the front. I usually go straight up to 12 o’clock. (Back) Enter the middle hole again and adjust tension. (Front) Travel to the next open hole in a clockwise direction repeating the above steps until your thread is in the back and there are 8 rays in the front. At this point, either enter the middle hole from back to front and continue with circle 2, or trim off the excess and begin the next step with a new length of lacing.
Star/circle 2 (red): With a new lacing or the same one, enter the starting hole (to the left and down from top center) from the back in circle 2. (Front) Make a counter-clockwise ray diagonally down to circle 1. (Back) Travel straight up to circle 2. (Front) Make a counter-clockwise ray down to circle 1 again. (Back) Travel straight up (or straight out, if you aren’t turning the pattern) to circle 2. Continue this until you exit from back to front at the whole you started in, or attach a new lace in the back at this point.
Next (yellow): This step will be in reverse of the pattern just made, and makes a set of x’s on the front. (Front) Make a diagonal ray in the clockwise direction down to the next hole in circle 1. (Back) Travel straight up to the hole in circle 2, making a double layer in the back. (Front) Make a diagonal ray in the clockwise direction down to the next open hole in circle 1. Continue this pattern until you enter from back to front in the hole you started in. Again, continue to the next circle or trim the lacing and add a new one before coming from back to front.
Star/circle 3 (green): This star is similar to star 2, using holes in circles 2 and 3. (Front) Make a ray moving from the start hole (same orientation as you started with in circle 2, to the left and a bit down from the top center of this circle), making a counter-clockwise ray moving up to the next counter-clockwise hole in circle 3. (Back) Move straight down to a hole in circle 2. (Front) Make a diagonal ray moving counter-clockwise up the circle 3. (Back) Move straight down (out) to a hole in circle 2. Continue until you exit from the back to the front in the hole where you began.
Next (pink): Now, you’ll be in reverse of the pattern just made, making another set of x’s on the front of the star. (Front) Make a diagonal ray moving from the start hole up, clockwise. (Back) Move straight down to a hole in circle 2, creating a double layer of lacing on the reverse. (Front) Make a diagonal ray moving up to circle 3, clockwise. (Back) Move straight down (out) to a hole in circle 2. Continue all the way around, then cut off any excess lacing in the back and tuck or glue under another lace. You can knot it if you like, but if you are actually using leather lacings they are unlikely to budge very much, and should be held pretty snug by the holes, which are enlarged only when needed as you go.
That’s it, try it! By the way, this template was made with thick folder stock and the holes were made using a Japanese hole punch, pretty simple. If you have questions, just leave me a comment. Happy lacing!
Front of lacing pattern, oriented to top.
Reverse of lacing pattern. As you can see, the pattern needs to make sense from the reverse as well, since it would be visually exposed on the inside of a book’s cover. You wouldn’t usually have all the little knots you see here along the top right diagonal- that’s just because I was using multiple threads/colors for the purpose of instruction.